It’s been over 2 years since I played and loved the original F.E.A.R.. Since then, there have been a couple expansion packs which were handled by a different developer which never really lived up to the first game. The console ports of the original game also seemed to fall short and admittedly, this contributed to my lack of enthusiasm towards F.E.A.R. 2 leading up to its release. Once it was released and I had read some solid reviews from writers that had played through the original game, I quickly became excited about this sequel. When I started playing through this continuation of the tale of Alma, I was reminded just how much I loved the first game and had a hard time putting the controller down between chapters.
Picking Up Where We Left Off
F.E.A.R. 2 begins about half an hour before the original game ends. This time, from a different perspective as you play as an entirely different character. When I realized what was going on, and that the city hadn’t been nuked yet, I immediately became immersed in the story as I knew what was about to go down. Having said that, I don’t think it’s fully required that one plays the original game in order to follow the story in F.E.A.R. 2. The game does a good job of bringing you up to speed and filling in back story through cut-scenes and collectible intelligence.
The Tragedy of Alma
Speaking of back story, we learn an awful lot about Alma this time around. And by the end of the game, I was actually feeling remorse. She’s a very tragic character, and it’s difficult to condemn her for the things she’s done knowing where she came from and how she got to be the way she is. Through-out the game, you run into Alma quite a bit. Mostly during hallucinations which drape her world over yours. These scenes are pretty incredible to witness, as the visual effects are not something you often see in video games. Especially the cinematic death scenes, where an Allie or unsuspecting rogue enemy soldier will end up being purÃƒÆ’Ã‚©ed right before your eyes.
Hey, Other First Person Shooters – Pay Attention!
Think back to when the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were first unveiled. Remember the demo videos we were shown and how first person shooters looked completely different? Not in terms of graphic capabilities, but the fluid camera movements and lighting effects that you swore had to be pre-rendered. That’s what F.E.A.R. 2 reminded me of. There haven’t been many games that have truly revolutionized a genre, and I’m not saying that F.E.A.R. 2 has done that. But it’s definitely taken a step away from the typical tank-like controls of modern first person shooters. It feels much more natural and authentic. Add to that, environmental damage that throws off your aim or knocks you back a few feet. Along with objects that can be interacted with to create cover. F.E.A.R. 2 really is a unique experience from this angle.
You Go That-a-Way
Where the game does fall short, is in its level design. It feels a bit dated, with corridor after corridor of flickering lights and merely a single path to follow. Which leads to you to whip through the campaign pretty quickly. I actually didn’t mind this so much, as the pace is kept at maximum almost the entire way through. It may be a linear experience, but it’s extremely fun and satisfying from the get-go.
The weapon load out in F.E.A.R. 2 is top notch. You have everything from a standard issue pistol and assault rifle, to a high powered sniper rifle and automatic shotgun, to the napalm cannon, plasma gun, and laser. Let’s not forget my personal favourite, the Hammerhead – which shoots large metal steaks that impale your victims and pin them to nearby objects. You can carry any 4 weapons at a time, plus 4 types of grenades. So you have plenty of variety at your disposal at all times and ammo is plentiful. There’s also a huge mechanized suit that you hop into a couple times during the campaign which lead to some pretty awesome moments.
Top Notch Entertainment
As you would expect, F.E.A.R. 2 looks and sounds amazing. The atmosphere that’s created by some of horror effects is perfectly executed. All the while, the game never once struggled to maintain its frame rate.
There is a multiplayer end of F.E.A.R. 2, but I didn’t even bother trying it out. I’m not much of a multiplayer gamer when it comes to first person shooters, and from what I’ve read, this isn’t exactly F.E.A.R. 2’s strongest point. I picked it up solely for the single player experience, and I definitely got what I came for.